Wounded veteran duo take on cycle challenge

Two Help for Heroes beneficiaries have set off from Berwick on a challenge of a lifetime riding through Britain.

Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 10:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 10:35 am
Army veterans who are cycling from Berwick to Dover to raise funds for Help For Heroes, pictured with Berwick's civic party.

Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock and Naval veteran Lee Patmore are cycling from Berwick to Dover in a bid to raise funds for Help for Heroes to support their wounded comrades and Team Rubicon UK.

Instead of taking the usual route down the country Steve and Lee, who rides a recumbent bike due to his illness powered entirely by his arms, will take on an even longer route, 800 miles, hugging the east coast of the UK as they pedal south.

These diversions will add almost 200 miles to the route and will mean cycling up hills, totalling a whopping 30,000ft – the equivalent of more than the height of Mount Everest.

Last year the pair took on a similar challenge from John O’ Groats to Land’s End, visiting all of the Help for Heroes (H4H) Recovery Centres along the way.

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This year they will also be joined by Australia veterans Brent New and his father Stan, who are flying over to the UK to take part in the epic challenge.

The team left Berwick Barracks at 8.30am on Monday with their send-off including a ceremony with a piper and cadet guard of honour. They were then escorted by Berwick motorcycle club and vintage military vehicles past the town hall and out of Berwick, before heading down 62 miles down the Northumberland coast to their first overnight stop at Newbiggin.

Steve Craddock has won a prestigious Hero Award and a Prime Minister’s Point of Light award for his dedication to fundraising over £450,000 for H4H since leaving the military. He has put on more than 80 events and ridden 5,000 miles in aid of the charity.

For retired Sergeant Steve from Kent, who was diagnosed with PTSD 10 years ago, being able to raise money and run events to help other wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women is a key part of his own personal recovery journey.

While talking about his inspiration to take the ride on, Steve said: “I think it’s important for people to support Help for Heroes because over the next 20 years many more guys are going to have mental health issues; guys who have physical injuries might get the mental health issues as well and I think we need to be there for them for the long-run. We did promise them support for life and we need to do our bit.”

The physical toll of this monumental challenge is made even more difficult due to Lee’s condition, Fibromyalgia, which causes heightened pain and extreme tiredness.

Lee, from Essex, a former Able Seaman, found the transition from military life to civilian incredibly hard. Not only had he left the job he had set his heart on but was in constant pain to the point he was prescribed morphine to dull it.

Help for Heroes gave Lee the opportunity through its Sports Recovery programme to try out archery and grant funded Lee’s first wheelchair.

He said: “Steve will say that this ride is about me and my determination to complete it, but I feel that the ride is about team work. We’re all fellow Veterans. We have our illnesses adding barriers to life, but for me, as a team we can complete some amazing journeys and challenges.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rubiconheroeschallengeOr text WSAI 80 TO 70070 to donate to Help for Heroes